Best school districts in Illinois according to Niche

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Agood school can lead to a lifetime of opportunities. Myriad data shows that lifetime earnings dramatically increase with every degree obtained. Bachelor’s degree holders will earn an average of roughly $26,000 more each year than high school graduates. And for those who decide that pursuing a college degree is not the best postsecondary option, a good school will provide students with the tools and support to make that choice, and the foundational skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.

For many families, the school district is a top criteria when deciding where to buy a home. But this consideration and ability to choose is not a luxury all families can afford, especially in today’s wildly competitive housing market.

One important proxy of a quality education is per-student spending. According to the most recent Census data available, the national average per-pupil expenditure in fiscal year 2019 was $13,187. Several recent studies suggest that increased spending per student correlates with higher academic achievement, particularly in districts serving predominantly low-income students. Since public schools are largely funded by property taxes, schools in low-income areas suffer the most from a lack of funding for critical expenditures like staff salaries and benefits, transportation, instructional resources, and support services.

There are more than 13,000 school districts in the U.S., each one slightly different, for better or worse, than the next. However, several common denominators exist and, when compared, can serve as indicators of what makes an impactful district.

Stacker compiled a list of the best school districts in Illinois using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks school districts based on a variety of criteria including academics (SAT/ACT scores and state proficiency tests), teacher salaries, expenses per student, and access to extracurricular activities.

#10. Township High School District No. 211 (Palatine)
– Number of schools: 7 (11,855 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (47% reading proficient and 53% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $77,308 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. Naperville Community Unit School District No. 203 (Naperville)
– Number of schools: 22 (16,586 students)
– Graduation rate: 98% (72% reading proficient and 64% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $80,881 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Hinsdale Township High School District No. 86 (Hinsdale)
– Number of schools: 3 (4,146 students)
– Graduation rate: 92% (64% reading proficient and 67% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $93,004 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Niles Township Community High School District No. 219 (Skokie)
– Number of schools: 3 (4,592 students)
– Graduation rate: 93% (47% reading proficient and 46% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $96,028 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Evanston Township High School District No. 202 (Evanston)
– Number of schools: 2 (3,620 students)
– Graduation rate: 92% (52% reading proficient and 50% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $99,049 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Township High School District No. 113 (Highland Park)
– Number of schools: 2 (3,467 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (68% reading proficient and 66% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $113,372 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. New Trier Township High School District No. 203 (Northfield)
– Number of schools: 2 (4,040 students)
– Graduation rate: 98% (81% reading proficient and 80% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $110,628 (12:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. Community High School District 128 (Vernon Hills)
– Number of schools: 2 (3,287 students)
– Graduation rate: 98% (72% reading proficient and 73% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $99,134 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Glenbrook High Schools District 225 (Glenview)
– Number of schools: 4 (5,201 students)
– Graduation rate: 97% (67% reading proficient and 69% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $103,463 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. Adlai E. Stevenson High School District No. 125 (Lincolnshire)
– Number of schools: 2 (4,271 students)
– Graduation rate: 96% (75% reading proficient and 76% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $93,403 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

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